June 1, 2011 § 8 Comments
This isn’t really a book about football. Football is all around it, providing means, motive and opportunity, but this is a book about a group of very strange people. It is an investigation undertaken with a lot of affection, a dose of hostility, and above all an incessant curiosity into their strangeness. What makes them men apart?
With one notable exception, about which more later, the book comprises short profiles – sketches, really, some more detailed than others – of forty-five footballers, fourteen managers, and six other “football men”, one of whom barely qualifies as such. None exceeds ten pages; the shortest barely fill three. Some come from one-to-one interviews, others from press conferences, others are simply descriptions conjured from Kuper’s contacts, knowledge, and critical eye. They were written across thirteen years, from September 1997 to October 2010, and have mostly appeared, in one form or another, in the Financial Times or other organs, though a few have been written specifically with the book in mind. « Read the rest of this entry »